Free-Agent Setup: Saints, Brees expect to stay together

By The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 24, 2018 at 10:01 PM
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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is an unrestricted free agent, but he likely isn't going anywhere. He recently turned 39, but has not shown a drop in productivity after 12 seasons in New Orleans.

The Saints want him back and he wants to return. Any thought Brees might have had that he'd have to go elsewhere to have a chance at another Super Bowl vanished with the Saints' resurgence last season. He said recently that he plans to be "a Saint for life."

Brees' contract stipulates that the team cannot use a franchise tag on him.

The Saints don't figure to tag anyone. Safety Kenny Vaccaro will likely be one of the more sought-after Saints unrestricted free agents. The Saints would like to have him back, but won't overpay to keep him. He might well command more from the open market than New Orleans is willing to pay him with youngsters Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams emerging in the secondary.

The Saints would like to re-sign defensive end Alex Okafor, assuming his recovery from Achilles surgery is on schedule. Guard/center Senio Kelemete has been a very valuable backup, but he is likely to attract starter's money and a better opportunity on the market.

Unit-by-unit depth chart as of Super Bowl LII. Injured players listed as starters if that was their status when injured.

*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.

QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Drew Brees (UFA). Backups - Chase Daniel (UFA), Taysom Hill.

RUNNING BACKS: Starter - Mark Ingram II, FB *John Kuhn (UFA). Backups - Alvin Kamara, *Daniel Lasco, Trey Edmunds, Jonathan Williams, FB Zach Line (UFA).

TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- *Coby Fleener. Backups -- Josh Hill, Michael Hoomanawanui, *Garrett Griffin, John Phillips (UFA), *Clay Harbor (UFA).

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters - Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr. Backups - Brandon Coleman, Willie Snead IV, Tommylee Lewis, Austin Carr, *Dan Arnold.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters - LT Terron Armstead, LG *Andrus Peat, C Max Unger, RG Larry Warford, RT *Zach Strief. Backups - T Ryan Ramczyk, G/C Senio Kelemete (UFA), C/G Josh LeRibeus (UFA), T Bryce Harris, G John Fullington, C Cameron Tom, C *Jack Allen.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters - DLE *Alex Okafor (UFA), DLT Sheldon Rankins, DRT Tyeler Davison, DRE Cameron Jordan. Backups -- DT *Nick Fairley (subsequently released), DE Trey Hendrickson, DE *Hau'oli Kikaha, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, DT Daniel Onyemata, DT *Tony McDaniel (subsequently released), DE George Johnson (UFA), DT *John Hughes (UFA), DT *David Parry, DT Woodrow Hamilton, DE Kasim Edebali (UFA), DT *Mitchell Loewen, DT *Devaroe Lawrence.

LINEBACKERS: Starters - WLB *Alex Anzalone, MLB Manti Te'o, SLB *A.J. Klein. Backups - WLB Craig Robertson, WLB *Nate Stupar, SLB Michael Mauti (UFA), SLB Jonathan Freeny (UFA), MLB Gerald Hodges (UFA).

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB *Delvin Breaux, RCB Marshon Lattimore, SS *Kenny Vaccaro (UFA), FS Vonn Bell. Backups - FS Marcus Williams, CB Ken Crawley, CB P.J. Williams, FS Rafael Bush (UFA), CB Sterling Moore (UFA), SS Chris Banjo, CB Justin Hardee, CB Arthur Maulet.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Wil Lutz, P Thomas Morstead, KOR Alvin Kamara, PR Tommylee Lewis, LS Zach Wood.

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